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FILLING THE BRACKETS

Nov. 21, 2005
Nov. 21, 2005

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Nov. 21, 2005

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL 2005--06
COLLEGE BASKETBALL 2005 - 06
College Basketball 2005-06
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FILLING THE BRACKETS

The 65-team NCAA tournament includes 31 automatic bids and 34 at-large selections. SI predicts the 45 teams to round out the field

TEAM I CONFERENCE I RETURNING STARTERS I SKINNY

This is an article from the Nov. 21, 2005 issue Original Layout

21

GEORGE WASHINGTON | ATLANTIC 10 | 4 | Australian for breakout: Junior guard J.R. Pinnock (13.4 ppg last season) averaged 25.0 on August trip Down Under.

22

ALABAMA | SEC | 3 | Unheralded playmaker Ronald Steele (2.46-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio) feeds league's top frontcourt, but Tide lacks long-range shooters.

23

IOWA STATE | BIG 12 | 3 | Physical East Coast backcourt of Will Blalock (Boston) and Curtis Stinson (New York City) will carry undersized Cyclones.

24

TEXAS TECH | BIG 12 | 3 | Reality show Knight School is filming in Lubbock, and electric guard Jarrius Jackson (45.8% on three-pointers) is Coach Bob's leading man.

25

ARKANSAS | SEC | 4 | Junior Ronnie Brewer (16.2 ppg), son of former Hogs star Ron, can play four positions--but he's a future lottery pick at guard.

26

KANSAS | BIG 12 | 1 | Welcome to Phog Allen Playpen: Four freshmen could start, including Brandon Rush, who described his game with one word: "Highlights."

27

WISCONSIN | BIG TEN | 1 | Will Brian Butch come around as sophomore? His coaches call 6'11" former McDonald's All-American most improved Badger.

28

CHARLOTTE | ATLANTIC 10 | 2 | Former Sooner De'Angelo Alexander shares scoring load with Curtis Withers, who added 11 pounds of muscle in off-season.

29

SYRACUSE | BIG EAST | 2 | Unproven forward Terrence Roberts (7.2 ppg) was surprise of U.S. under-21 team's camp this summer; is big junior year ahead?

30

BUCKNELL | PATRIOT | 5 | Kansas-shocker Chris McNaughton, a gigantisch German, returns--along with every other Bisons starter--for NCAA encore.

31

MARYLAND | ACC | 4 | With D.J. Strawberry back from torn right ACL, Terps will have a steady combo guard who is also tenacious on-ball defender.

32

OHIO | MAC | 4 | Forward Leon Williams (6'8", 255 pounds), who as freshman led Bobcats' surprise run to NCAA tournament, looks like next Gary Trent.

33

N.C. STATE | ACC | 4 | Wolfpack's Big Unit, 6'10" Andrew Brackman, doubles as ace righthander (4--0, 2.09 ERA in '05) for school's baseball team.

34

NEVADA | WAC | 3 | Defending league champs shun three-pointer (2.7 per game last season) and depend on ultraproductive forward Nick Fazekas (50.2 FG%).

35

GEORGETOWN | BIG EAST | 5 | Bigs are back in D.C.: 6'9" Brandon Bowman (15.1 ppg) and 6'9" Jeff Green (6.6 rpg) give Hoyas fighting chance in Big(ger) East.

36

LSU | SEC | 3 | Tasmin Mitchell is Tigers' latest Bayou-grown McDonald's All-American forward--and could be their third straight SEC freshman of the year.

37

OHIO STATE | BIG TEN | 5 | Buckeyes' future post presence may be Greg Oden, but their present, Terence Dials (15.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg), is league's top power forward.

38

OKLAHOMA STATE | BIG 12 | 1 | Juco transfers Mario Boggan (forward) and Jamaal Brown (guard) are key to Eddie Sutton's quest for his 800th win. (He's 19 short.)

39

INDIANA | BIG TEN | 4 | Marco Killingsworth, a 6'8" transfer from Auburn, should take Big Ten by storm, but frontcourtmate D.J. White broke his foot on Nov. 4.

40

OLD DOMINION | COLONIAL | 4 | The mid-major Andrew Bogut? Alex Loughton, a 6'9" senior from Australia, is reigning conference player of the year.

41

OREGON | PAC-10 | 4 | Juco transfer Ivan Johnson, a 6'8" menace who left Cincinnati after Bob Huggins's firing, will help solidify Ducks' shaky frontcourt.

42

CINCINNATI | BIG EAST | 4 | Mercurial point guard Jihad Muhammad will move to wing if freshman burner Devan Downey (36.9 ppg as high school senior) develops.

43

MIAMI | ACC | 4 | High-flying guard Guillermo Diaz (a youth volleyball star in Puerto Rico) leads backcourt-rich team to its first tournament bid since '02.

44

FLORIDA | SEC | 2 | Long-armed sophomore forwards Corey Brewer (46 steals) and Al Horford (51 blocks) give Gators, for once, tough defensive rep.

45

CALIFORNIA | PAC-10 | 3 | The Powe Show is back: Sophomore forward Leon Powe (15.1 ppg, 9.5 rpg in '03--04) has recovered from two major knee surgeries.

46

SAN DIEGO STATE | MOUNTAIN WEST | 4 | Aztecs livin' large with two 6'10" big men named Mohamed (Abukar and Camara) and 6'9'' Marcus Slaughter (17.8 ppg).

47

HOUSTON | C-USA | 4 | Tom Penders coached Cougars to 18 wins in his first season; now they're Memphis's main challenger in weakened conference.

48

CREIGHTON | MISSOURI VALLEY | 4 | Feel the Funk: Guard Nate Funk (46.9% on threes) leads Bluejays , who nearly upset West Virginia in '05 dance.

49

WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE | HORIZON | 4 | New coach Rob Jeter apprenticed under Bo Ryan and his swing offense in Madison but vows to keep Panthers running.

50

XAVIER | ATLANTIC 10 | 5 | Left-shin tendinitis hobbled forward Brian Thornton (10.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg) in '04--05; as a healthy senior he could be Xavier's top scorer.

51

DAVIDSON | SOUTHERN | 3 | Wildcats were relegated to NIT despite 16--0 conference record; 6'5" guard Brendan Winters is skilled marksman.

52

CAL STATE--FULLERTON | BIG WEST | 3 | With do-it-all guard Bobby Brown (16.8 ppg, 4.7 apg) at helm, Titans should earn first NCAA bid since 1978.

53

IONA | METRO ATLANTIC | 3 | Rucker Park--tested guard Steve Burtt, son of Gaels' alltime scoring leader (also Steve), is prolific scorer in his own right (19.3 ppg).

54

PENN | IVY | 4 | Man of Steal: Junior guard Ibrahim Jaaber ranked sixth in nation in thefts (2.9 a game) last season, when Quakers went 13--1 in league.

55

MURRAY STATE | OHIO VALLEY | 5 | All-transfer backcourt of Trey Pearson (Ole Miss) and Keith Jenifer (Virginia) could be dominant on mid-major stage.

56

ORAL ROBERTS | MID-CONTINENT | 4 | Caleb Green, double-double machine: Homegrown junior forward had 16 last season while averaging 19.4 ppg, 9.3 rpg.

57

EAST TENNESSEE STATE | ATLANTIC SUN | 5 | A housewarming gift: Bucs, led by 5'9" pocket rocket Tim Smith, will host their new conference's tournament.

58

WESTERN KENTUCKY | SUN BELT | 3 | Season is dedicated to guard Danny Rumph, who died from heart condition after collapsing during May pickup game.

59

WINTHROP | BIG SOUTH | 5 | Junior guard Torrell Martin (13.1 ppg), league's preseason player of the year, should be in high gear after March knee surgery.

60

ALBANY | AMERICA EAST | 4 | Great Danes are eyeing Vermont's old throne, but junior Jamar Wilson, league's No. 1 guard, must take better care of ball.

61

NORTHWESTERN STATE | SOUTHLAND | 5 | Balanced Demons (top scorer Jermaine Wallace averaged 11.9 points) return four four-year starters from 21-win team.

62

SACRAMENTO STATE | BIG SKY | 4 | Hornets have never been to NCAAs, but 6'4", 220-pound guard Jason Harris (17.5 ppg) could power them there.

63

FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON | NORTHEAST | 3 | Forward Gordon Klaiber is threat inside and out (16.0 ppg, 46 threes); Italian centro Andrea Crosariol had 55 blocks.

64

HAMPTON | MEAC | 3 | Avast! At 6'11", Pirates center Bruce Brown towers above rest of MEAC; he shot 69.4% from field in conference games.

65

ALABAMA A&M | SWAC | 3 | Helter-skelter defensive system forced 21.4 turnovers per game, and senior guard Obie Trotter led nation in steals with 125.

PHOTOBOB ROSATOTWISTERS Behind guards Blalock (11) and Stinson (1), the Cyclones of Iowa State should make a second consecutive tournament appearance.